Google’s Project Loon is an ambitious plan to provide Internet connectivity to areas of the planet that don’t already have access via a fleet of superpressure helium balloons that will float in the stratosphere 20 kilometres above the ground. The company announced plans this week to circle the planet with a ring of the Project Loon balloons which will provide a high-tech communications network for those living underneath. Provided that current tests are successful, the Southern Hemisphere will have the first ring of 300 balloons providing connectivity within an area of a 40-kilometre diameter next year.
Project Loon was announced in 2013 and there have been great improvements to the balloons and the durations of time they are in the air. Additionally the connectivity has increased from 3G cellular networks to speeds up to 10 megabits per second, equivalent to 4G mobile speeds in parts of the world.